1.30.23: Peer Review Exercise

Peer Review Paper:

D. Zhou, Y. Fu, J. Deng, J. Sun and Y. Liu, “A Bistable Jumping Robot with Pure Soft Body Actuated by Twisted Artificial Muscle,” 2021 27th International Conference on Mechatronics and Machine Vision in Practice (M2VIP), Shanghai, China, 2021, pp. 388-393, doi: 10.1109/M2VIP49856.2021.9665013.

Do you have any conflict of interest in reviewing this paper? A “conflict of interest” is defined as follows

  1. Ph.D. thesis advisor or advisee
  2. Postdoctoral advisor or advisee
  3. Collaborators or co-authors for the past 48 months
  4. Any other individual or institution with which the investigator has financial ties

I have no conflicts of interest with this paper.

Expertise. Provide your expertise in the topic area of this paper.

  • 4 – Expert
  • 3 – Knowledgeable
  • 2 – Passing Knowledge
  • 1 – No Knowledge

2 – Passing Knowledge

Summary. Please summarize what you believe are the paper’s main contributions to the field of soft robotics. Please write a short paragraph. 

This paper takes on the challenge of achieving a fast jump in soft robotics with a purely soft body, compared to previous work that, in large, actuates jumping motions using a rigid spine. Jumping for soft robots is an inherently more difficult action due to the nature of the soft material acting against stored potential energy. If a repeatable and consistent jumping motion is achieved, the realm of possible movement for soft robots are significantly expanded.

Strengths and Weaknesses. What are the main strengths and weaknesses of this work? Does the paper have strengths in originality and novelty? Please write a short paragraph. 

One of this paper’s strengths lies in its language and diagrams. The diction used is appropriate, yet still approachable for those less knowledgeable in the field. Similarly, the diagrams use digitally fabricated content alongside marked-up photography to create clear ties between written content and other diagrams. However, the paper somewhat lacks writing on related literature. Specifically in the introduction, five related papers are mentioned about jumping mechanisms in small and sometimes soft robots, but how that literature informs this paper is not expounded upon.

Soundness. Are the ideas, algorithms, results or studies technologically/methodologically sound? Please write a short paragraph arguing for the strengths and weaknesses of the work. 

Yes, the paper seems sound. The Materials and Methods section was comprehensive, including detailed diagrams on fabrication, a thorough walkthrough of the mathematics behind the actuation, and overview of the control system. The Review and Results section was comprehensive as well, although I would have appreciated charts of the data to go with the graphs in that section as well as information on the amount of trials done.

Related Work. Does the paper adequately describe related and prior work? Please write a sentence or short paragraph. 

This paper appropriately references relevant literature and related topics within soft robotics and jumping actuation. The references are not so thoroughly reviewed in the actual paper, but this could in part be due to the page limit as part of the conference guidelines.

Presentation. Is the paper well organized, well written and clearly presented? Please write a sentence or short paragraph. 

Yes, this paper is well organized, clearly presented, and very well written.

Suggestions. Do you have suggestions for improving this paper? Please write several paragraphs detailing specific points of the paper which merit reconsideration. Be sure to address the text, figures and tables, mathematics, and grammar and spelling. 

First, I would suggest this paper to go in more detail about related works if possible. Again, I realize that there is a page limit in line with the conference paper guidelines, but at several points in the Introduction up to nine references are mentioned in fell sweeps that provide next to no information about the reference. Looking into a couple of these reference sections, the references contained in these fast mentions can be quite varied and it feels inappropriate the group them in such large terms.

Additionally, I would recommend for this paper to add more information about its results data. In particular reference to Fig. 8, I appreciate that the graphs are there but I wish that there were more information on what exactly the data on those points were, perhaps in a chart format. Additionally, the lack of information of trials in unfortunate. I would like to know if the jumping actuation was repeatable and consistent at every temperature.

Comments to Committee (Hidden from authors). Does the paper have enough originality and importance to merit publication? Is the paper relevant to the field? These comments will NOT be sent to the authors: Please write one or more paragraphs as needed to justify your review judgement. 

Yes, this paper has enough originality and importance to merit publication due to its success with actuating a purely soft body to jump. Particularly as the conference relates to Machine Vision in Practice, this paper provides a compelling fabrication and actuation method to further how soft robots may move in the future. Finally, the paper concludes with a note on the potential of controlled jump direction, which is fairly compelling.

Overall Rating. Provide your overall rating of the paper (5 is best).

  • 5 – Definite accept: I would argue strongly for accepting this paper.
  • 4 – Probably accept: I would argue for accepting this paper.
  • 3 – Borderline: Overall I would not argue for accepting this paper.
  • 2 – Probably reject: I would argue for rejecting this paper.
  • 1 – Definite reject: I would argue strongly for rejecting this paper.

4 – Probably accept: I would argue for accepting this paper.

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